Business Development today is more process oriented than intuitional. Businessmen in the early era often decided the course of their business on the basis of their acumen and gut feeling. But in today’s world, instincts are not the only thing worth listening too. A business needs a proper plan, strategy, innovative ideas, better reach and best utilization of resources to prosper.
Understanding Market Research
An important component of the business strategy is Market Research which is often defined as an organized effort which gathers information about the target market and customers and helps in designing a strategy. The process aims at providing important information which helps in identifying and analysing the market need, market size and competition. Market-research techniques comprise both qualitative techniques such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnography, and quantitative techniques such as customer surveys, and analysis of secondary data. It systematically gathers and interprets information, including social and opinion research, about individuals or organizations using statistical and analytical methods and techniques of the applied social sciences to leverage or support decision making.
There are basically two types of market research data for analysis:
- Primary Data, which is the first-hand information one gathers oneself or with the help of services from a market research firm.
- Secondary Data is pre-existing information in the public domain, like the data shared in magazines, newspapers, and government or industry reports. One can analyze the data in a way he or she deems appropriate, but the information is basically available to a large number of people.
With technological advancements, the Market Research industry has seen tremendous changes pertaining to the way data is collected and analysed. These changes have made the entire process faster, crisper, cost-effective, easier and more informed for decision making. Here’s how the change has been brought about by technology.
Compounded Data Sources – The sources of data collection has certainly multiplied. It is now more than collecting data from the neighbourhood. The sources of data are now global, online, offline and more holistic. The data is no more limited to one word answers i.e. yes or no, the research now takes into account emotional, behavioural, passive, and other forms of data.
More Expansive – Data collected is now more versatile. It is now easy to reach unthought-of areas to gather data. The methods and tools of data collection have evolved. Days of a simple questionnaire have evolved into the online questionnaire, social media polling; new geographical areas, demographic based, and provides more flexibility to the customers participating in terms of time and choices.
Data Analysis Advancement – The data collected must be analysed to make some business sense out of it and facilitate decision making. Technology has made data analysis easy, various platforms like mobile and web which make the analysis easier and more decision oriented. The best part is that they can be used by anyone and not just experts.
New Roles – Technology has simplified the process but also created more roles and opportunities for experts. Though the tools are within reach of anyone, businesses still require an expert’s overview for the final outcome and decision. Introduction of new methods has also generated the demand for subject matter experts who learn and adapt to new technological changes in a quick and efficient manner.
Sorting Data – Data is a good thing but too much data can be overwhelming. Technology has served businesses with tools and techniques, but the ones best suited for a particular business need human intervention in terms of experts. Sorting the available data, tools and techniques are as important as using them. A wrong tool for the right business can result in a bad decision. So it is in the best of a business to utilize the services of technology along with human resource.
Technology has definitely enhanced the way Market Research is done but the core remains unmodified. The way things are being gathered and delivered has changed, but the human brains that decode it are now more equipped. Through technology, the market research industry is performing more effectively and efficiently and creating roles and market practices hitherto unexplored by businesses.